Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy

Airline
Egyptair
Flight
MS48
Aircraft
Boeing 737-800
Registration
SU-GEJ
Class
Economy
Seat
26C
Date
02/08/2021
Flight time
00:40

  Trip to Hurghada

Lufthansa Paris (CDG)  →  Frankfurt (FRA) A321-200 Economy Class 02/08/2021 Short review - 3.6/5
Lufthansa Frankfurt (FRA)  →  Cairo (CAI) A321neo Business Class 02/08/2021
Egyptair Cairo (CAI)  →  Hurghada (HRG) 737-800 Economy Class 02/08/2021 Current review
Lufthansa Hurghada (HRG)  →  Munich (MUC) A320neo Business Class 13/08/2021
Lufthansa Munich (MUC)  →  Paris (CDG) A320-200 Economy Class 15/08/2021 Short review - 3.6/5

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  Trip to Hurghada

Lufthansa Paris (CDG)  →  Frankfurt (FRA) A321-200 Economy Class 02/08/2021 Short review - 3.6/5
Lufthansa Frankfurt (FRA)  →  Cairo (CAI) A321neo Business Class 02/08/2021
Egyptair Cairo (CAI)  →  Hurghada (HRG) 737-800 Economy Class 02/08/2021 Current review
Lufthansa Hurghada (HRG)  →  Munich (MUC) A320neo Business Class 13/08/2021
Lufthansa Munich (MUC)  →  Paris (CDG) A320-200 Economy Class 15/08/2021 Short review - 3.6/5

Introduction

Hello everyone, I'm meeting you today at Cairo International Airport for a new Flight review with Egyptair, an airline I had never taken before, to Hurghada!

First of all, I invite you to check out my Flight review on board the Lufthansa A321neo in Business Class between Frankfurt and Cairo, which precedes this flight.


Cairo Airport

As a reminder, I just arrived from Paris, via Frankfurt (with Lufthansa), and my luggage was checked directly from Paris to Hurghada. On board the flight from Frankfurt to Cairo, the crew told me that in Egypt, each piece of luggage has to be collected in Cairo, even if the bag tags mentioned "HRG" as the final destination. After a first check at the Transit Information Desk of Egyptair when we arrived in Cairo, they confirmed to us that the luggage would arrive on the baggage belt in Cairo. Finally, our luggage does not arrive (obviously) and a person in charge of the luggage reclaiming affirms that our luggage will go directly to Hurghada. So, we leave the international area of Cairo Airport, and we find ourselves in the big arrival hall. Indeed, if you are connected, no way to stay directly in the transit zone. It is mandatory to go through the baggage claim and then again through the check-in... Not very practical, nor fast. Anyway, we went up to the departure level to leave for Hurghada.

The departure hall is quite large, empty, and cold, but very clean!

Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy

The signage in this airport is really counterintuitive: you follow one direction with signs that actually send you in the opposite direction.

We go to a counter of Egyptair to inquire again about our luggage. After 20 minutes of research (note that we provided them with the luggage receipt) and of bad understanding (English is not their strong point), they told us that the luggage leaves well on Hurghada.

The official entrance to the domestic flight check-in is closed. You have to follow the direction of the international flights. And of course, there is no particular indication. We have been subjected to a new security control before the access to the check-in counters. The controls remind me of those in India: even when the security gate doesn't ring, you are palpated. And let's say that the hands go around here more than in Paris, it is frankly almost unhealthy.

We arrive at the check-in hall and to change the rest, it is deserted.

Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy

Once again, counterintuitive directions. The departures are indicated on the left, whereas by continuing on the left, one falls to a dead end. So, you had to turn right...

After long corridors, we finally arrive in the domestic transit zone of the airport. It is now 3:55 pm in Cairo, it has been a little more than an hour since we landed in Egypt. Our flight to Hurghada is scheduled for 6:00 pm with boarding at 5:15 pm (it takes time to board an A220...), that is to say in 1h20.

Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy

We go to the indicated gate, the F23. We go through security checks. Once again, we are well palpated as it is necessary, and not of panic especially if you keep your telephone in the pocket or your computer in the suitcase, they do not have anything to make of it, as long as you take off your shoes! At least, it goes fast.

And what a bad idea to already pass the security! We arrive in a kind of small, deserted corridor with hardly 4 boarding gates. There is only a small restaurant selling bottles of water at a high price. The air-conditioning is not working well so it's really hot, while the windows are tinted so it's very difficult to spot the little traffic on the way. There are no electrical outlets or USB ports available near the few seats present, and a huge problem in my opinion for a big international airport like Cairo – especially in a country where French phone plans don't work for most of them – is that there is no Wi-Fi available in the terminal, unless you have a phone line with their local operator! A great joke that didn't put me in a very good mood. But at least we can't blame them for one thing: it's clean! No kidding, I met more maintenance agents in the terminal than passengers...

We had been waiting for about 20 minutes when a sweet voice told us that our flight to Hurghada would be delayed for one hour. Without internet, nor power outlets, in a dead terminal, with nothing to do, it will be long...

I desperately try to spot an Emirates Airbus A380 arriving from Dubai.

Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy

About ten minutes pass and I start to see the few passengers of the terminal walking towards the security controls already passed before. I go to see the flight board. Without any announcement, Egyptair decided to change the gate of our flight, which will finally leave in G27. It had to be the opposite gate of the terminal... So, we turn back, having to explain to the security staff (who also have big gaps in English) that our gate has changed.

We thus walk for about fifteen minutes until arriving at our new gate, the G27. On the way, we hear a message which announces an immediate boarding. We arrive at the gate, and like all the other passengers, we are in total incomprehension. The boarding is obviously not done since the flight is delayed by one hour, but we continue to hear in the terminal the non-stop announcements of boarding. We are in front of the gate and there is… nothing. Not a person in charge of the airline or the airport could inform us: only passengers like us, irritated and tired of this total vagueness that this airport and this airline make us live.

Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy

After 45 minutes without any explanation, a person from Egyptair arrives and informs us that we can go down the escalator to pass the security controls. You must think that I already passed twice the security controls in Cairo: this will indeed be the third time, but let's pass...

We go down to the lower floor, queue up in a rather narrow corridor and arrive in front of the boarding counter.

Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy

First of all, they offer us a bottle of water and/or fruit juice for free: a rather nice service from Egyptair! However, we will notice that they give us liquids even before passing security controls...

Second, the man at the counter takes my boarding pass and changes my seat number by hand. I was supposed to be in 26A and I'm now in 26B. Problem: there is no "B" in Egyptair's A220. Then I see through a window something I'm not going to like at all and that explains why I didn't see an A220 around: the A220-300 I was supposed to take has mysteriously turned into a Boeing 737-800...

I ask again the man in charge of the boarding for my checked luggage to be sure that they are on board, and he confirms that yes.

Then come the security checks. Once again, for the third time, the officers' hands were wandering, I had to take off my shoes without worrying about my computer and my phone. I had two bottles of water in my bag that were given to me on the previous flight; they paid absolutely no attention to them. This is worrying for the security...

I arrive now in a waiting hall. I see through a window (still tinted...) my plane of the day. To my great regret, it will not be an A220 - the plane I really wanted to take - but a Boeing 737-866(WL) delivered to the Egyptian airline in June 2017. The catering is just starting, so boarding is not for now...

Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy

Boarding

After about 20 minutes of waiting, without any announcement, I see a lot of people getting up and heading towards the open jetway. If some airlines adapt their boarding measures during Covid (small children, Business Class passengers, and Star Alliance Gold members first, then rows by rows, back to front, from the windows to the aisles, or whatever you want...), we're not bothered with these trivialities at Egyptair! Indeed, no priority boarding: everyone enters the jetway without any regulation. Business class passengers are treated like everyone else. Considering the price of their ticket, I would not have appreciated this service at all...

Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy

A kind of grid on the window of the jetway makes me miss my fuselage shot :/ I put it anyway.

Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy

Cabin and seat

We board the Boeing 737 with the Boeing Sky Interior.

Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy

A small look at the Business Class seats on this flight. A real Business Class in this 737 with wide leather seats, not a European Business as I had on Lufthansa...

Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy

I arrive at my seat, 26B, and manage to swap it for the aisle seat, 26C.

Row 26 is actually an emergency exit row so again I have great legroom!

Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy

In my seat pocket, there was nothing at all! No safety instructions, no sickness bag! Again, this is worrying for safety......

The cabin of this 737 is however very nice. It is recent, modern, very clean, rather pretty, and equipped with an individual entertainment system (something else that Lufthansa did not have...).

The seat is very comfortable.

Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy

Note that the IFE will not be usable during the flight. Only the real-time mapping system will be available.

Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy

No headphones for the entertainment screen, but that was to be expected on such a short flight.


Departure

We prepare for departure. The cabin's lighting turns blue.

Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy

The security instruction starts, first in Arabic and then in English. The video is rather nice and modern, it reminds me a lot of the current Thai Airways security video, I even wonder if there was not an inspiration on many points...

Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy

As I didn't have a window on this flight and it was dark, I can't share any pictures of the outside.

The plane pushes back, rolls quickly to the hold of runway 05C, lines up, and takes off with finally 1h15 delay...


Onboard service

Once in flight, the service on board begins. In Economy Class, this is limited to a small bottle of water. A little light but enough for this flight duration and the current health situation. And this is not worse than what most airlines do for flights of this duration...

Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy

As for the crews on board, there is a stewardess and two stewards. All three are wearing gloves, obviously a mask, and goggles. They are all rather cold, and not very friendly. They seem more annoyed and tired than anything else... It's a change from the friendliness of the Lufthansa cabin crew!

Take a look at the interactive map on the IFE.

Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy

Barely 10 minutes after the service, we already start our descent to Hurghada.

As the sun sets very early in Egypt, it is already dark, we can't see anything outside.


Descend and arrival

The approach is quite eventful with some turbulence.

After 40 minutes of flight and exactly one hour of delay, we land on runway 16L of Hurghada International Airport.

Incredibly, at no time were we informed of the reason for the delay or even the change of plane. Except for the departure board at Cairo Airport, all the crew members and staff at the airport seemed to know nothing. We received no announcement, no apology, no information, nothing at all about this... and I really blame them for that. Absolutely no communication with the passengers.

We taxi and arrive rather quickly at our parking lot located at the domestic terminal of the airport. No jetways are available in this terminal so it will be a bus deboarding that will end this trip.

Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy

As we leave the plane, we are greeted by the heat of Egypt, accompanied by the good little smell of kerosene! As soon as we boarded the bus, it closed its doors and drove to the terminal.

We see a beautiful Egyptair Airbus A220 parked next to our Boeing 737. To think that I should have taken it...

Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy

Hurghada Airport

We arrive in the arrival hall of the domestic terminal of the airport. It is simply a large room, badly air-conditioned, with nothing but two baggage belts and toilets.

Flight review: Egyptair from Cairo to Hurghada in Economy

The plane was really not far from the terminal and yet we waited almost half an hour for the luggage. Not bad after an hour's delay!!

The luggage finally arrives on the belt, and I wait, I wait, they don't come... Having been checked in Business Class on the previous flights with Lufthansa, I had a "Star Alliance Priority" label on my luggage so they should have arrived among the first...

After 15 minutes, our luggage is still not there... An employee of the airline comes to see us, as well as a small group of people in the same situation, and announces "All the luggage is there, none should arrive". I can assure you that after all these multiple checks in Cairo, all these delays, and waiting, it was almost comical!

After ten minutes of waiting in this old-fashioned and gloomy hall becoming more and more deserted, we are informed that our luggage, coming from the international, has been transferred to another terminal. We were taken there and finally found our luggage checked in Paris a few hours earlier. It would be nice to follow the example of other airports that use the same procedure: clearly indicate the location of a belt reserved for international arrivals. This is for example the case of Thai Airways at Phuket airport which has an arrival hall dedicated to passengers who, before transiting through Bangkok, came from abroad.

I now understand what the stewardess on board Lufthansa told us. It is better to collect your luggage in Cairo and check it back in for a domestic flight. It would have been so much easier! Good to know for the next time...

And guess what: it's not over! We have to go through customs (obviously since we were coming from abroad) and as much as my checked luggage (the famous ones) was not a problem, but now, only after the flight, they saw fit to check my computer, my camera, my external battery and to ask me to throw my water bottles in the garbage. I was really amazed.

Anyway, I finally get out of this absolutely awful terminal, and I meet my driver. Let's go for two weeks of vacation under the Egyptian sun. I am nevertheless looking forward to try out the international terminal of Hurghada for the departures. I will show you all this very soon in the Flight review of my return flight!


Conclusion

Egyptair

My opinion about Egyptair is really mixed. On the one hand, an important unjustified delay, a big lack of communication from the airline concerning the delay, as well as the change of plane (I really wanted to take the A220). On the other hand, the plane was recent and very clean, and the cabin was quite comfortable and pleasant with the Boeing Sky Interior. The entertainment (even if not functional on this route) and mapping system integrated into the seat is a good point in a Boeing 737! The service offered on board is very light but not worse than what other airlines offer on equivalent flights, especially at this particular time. The water and juice offered before boarding are also good points that deserve to be valued. Crews could benefit from being more friendly.

Cairo Airport

Concerning Cairo Airport, a huge lack of logic and a big counter-intuitiveness is to be noted, as I had already pointed out in my previous Flight review between Frankfurt and Cairo. The terminal, although rather modern and clean, is really not practical. The lack of real air-conditioning in such a hot country, the absence of electrical outlets and especially of internet connection are really big disadvantages for an international airport of this type. Moreover, no staff of the airline, nor even of the airport, is present to inform the travelers, thus plunging them into total incomprehension. Finally, three security checks, each one unhealthier than the other and always less safe, do not guarantee great security on board, far from it...

Hurghada Airport

Concerning Hurghada now, the arrival hall was clean. Otherwise, waiting times were too long to get your luggage back, accompanied by a big lack of logic, efficiency, and especially information from the airport and the airline. And if you were hoping to find a car rental company or cabs, forget it. The arrival of this terminal is a real desert...

Thanks for reading and see you soon for the Flight review of my return flight ;)


Ratings

3.3/5
Cleanliness
5/5
Accessibility and orientation
2/5
Efficiency
4.5/5
Services
2.5/5
3.1/5
Cabin and comfort
4.4/5
Entertainment
1.6/5
Food and beverages
2.7/5
Crew
3/5
3.3/5
Cleanliness
5/5
Accessibility and orientation
1.5/5
Efficiency
5/5
Services
N/A

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